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How much protein % should my 8 wk old puppy be on now, and then later when she is an adult?

I've been on the all about dog food website and the variance is huge.

I remember with my older dog, on my vet's advice I moved her off puppy food and on to a lower protein adult food about 10 months rather than 12 and it settled her crazy-arsed teenage behaviour down really quickly.

I don't want to feed the new pup too high a protein food in case it has behaviour ramifications. But equally I want to feed her good stuff, but not stupid expensive. I want to compare brands with % protein. She will be a family pet not a working dog.

I'm moving my older dog onto a more sensitive recipe too, and don't know what protein % to go for for her either. She is 6 years old and quite sedentary. Not overweight, but has allergies.
 

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To be quite honest, in good quality dog foods there is very little difference between the protein levels there's really not much point in a specific puppy food, the biggest difference is usually the kibble size, which isn't really necessary either. I raw feed and pups are capable of munching through chicken frames at not much more than 3 weeks of age. Personally for me I would always switch any pup over at 6 months of age to an adult brand if you do stick to a puppy specific food. I have used Simpsons premium in the past as it is good value for the ingredients.
 

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I must admit, I'm not a dietitian, I feed what my dogs like, and what they do well on. I'm not looking for rapid growth, I like my pups to grow on nice and steadily.

I'm not big on puppy food, after all, there is no puppy food in the wild and until recently no such thing as puppy foods, nor is there any such thing as "Children food!" The one advantage of puppy food is that it's smaller in size so easier for a baby to manage. For this reason I always get a sack of whatever the breeder has been using. This means the pup does not have to cope with a different food initially. After a couple of weeks I start adding a little of the adult food I intend to use into the sack of puppy food, mixing it well in. In effect, each meal the puppy gets from then on will have a bigger and bigger percentage of adult food, until by around 5 months old it's all adult.

But right from day one I add a little table scraps into the food, almost anything from roast beef to sweet and sour chicken! I find my dogs get so use to a varied diet that they simply never get upset tummies! Remember, there is a lot of talk about "Balanced diet" but think about your own food. In reality, it is not a balanced diet on a daily level, it is more a question of balanced over a period of time which each day's food being different. By adding table scraps into the diet you are achieving the same thing. Dogs in the wild are opportunist feeders, they eat what they find when thy find it rather than identical food every day.
I've seen a range between 20% and 40% for adult dogs. Such a wide range!
Not all protein is equal! The protein from some sources is harder for a dog to assimilate than other forms, so you cant directly compare protein figures. You need to know what the protein figure is derived from. The food I normally feed is 23% and I've used it for over 30 years. It's a food which is specifically aimed at working dogs, so as such is vat free, making it cheaper that a comparable food aimed at the pet market. (I'm also friends with the local concessionaire so get VERY favourable rates!! ;) Not that I would let price affect my judgment.
 

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Thanks John. Great advice re mixing in the adult food. I will also look at the protein constituents. I think too much pea protein is making my older dog fart all the time!

My chickens get all the table scraps I'm afraid, unless it is chicken and then the dog gets it!

I certainly want nice slow steady growth for the pup, to try and minimise joint problems later.

For a lab with a non-working lifestyle, do I need to keep the protein levels low? I don't want my dogs bouncing off the walls, but I noticed that the expensive foods (i.e. good quality) have higher protein, and from meat.
 

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For a lab with a non-working lifestyle, do I need to keep the protein levels low?
The actual working lifestyle is rather different to the perception. Mine are working dogs, out with me in the field from around 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. But by far the majority of that time is spent sitting quietly beside me waiting for the beaters to bring the hedges down. Probably in 8 drives there is probably 15 minutes walking at heel between drives and a 15 minutes burst of activity per drive. So probably the actually "exercise" is no more that a day in the life of a pet dog. Below is Amy waiting for the beaters.

26411
 

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As John has said already, protein levels and types of protein are very different. My dogs are fed raw meaty bones usually, some people would think it odd that all the connective tissues etc are where the good nutrition for them is, we're so used to eat just the muscle meat for ourselves. Dogs have a much shorter digestive tract so any food with fillers in you will end up with them pooping a lot more than a good quality food where they absorb more of the good quality ingredients so there's less indigestible stuff to poop out. I'm defrosting my freezers at the minute and have my dogs on a mixture of Simpsons Premium with either tinned Butchers or Forthglade; in actual fact, although tinned Butchers is pretty cheap and cheerful, they have grain free varieties which aren't that bad for our dogs, I wouldn't like to eat it but they love it.
 

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Amy is gorgeous! How lovely to be working outdoors with your dog all day.

Thanks Tarimoor. My older dog currently poos between 2 and 3 times a day on James Wellbeloved kibble. I've noticed it is high in carbs. What are the fillers? Aren't they just dietary fibre and isn't that necessary? I'd love to pick up less poo. Especially with two dogs to clean up after.

Sorry for all the questions!
 

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Thanks Tarimoor. My older dog currently poos between 2 and 3 times a day on James Wellbeloved kibble. I've noticed it is high in carbs. What are the fillers? Aren't they just dietary fibre and isn't that necessary? I'd love to pick up less poo. Especially with two dogs to clean up after.

Sorry for all the questions!
Fillers are things like wheat and maize, which aren't easily digestible, so most of it passes through and then you get problems with coprophragia (poo eating) because a dog can still smell there is half digested food in there.

James well beloved used to be a small independent company, but they are now under Crown, which is owned by Mars who also make Pedigree dog foods. The quality changed when that happened, still not a bad food but not as good as it used to be and Crown have used the reputation of what used to be a small independent company to some degree.
 

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Just had a quick look, for JWB it has 23.5% lamb in their adult variety, but Simpsons Premium has 45% in theirs. I've also just looked at prices, for £10kgs of JWB the RRP is £56.99, where as for Simpsons it's £46.80 for 12kgs.
 

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I'd love to pick up less poo.
So much also depends on the dog's own metabolism. Sadly Amy died last February aged near enough 15 years old. She used to defecate around 3 times per day. Chloe, 5 years old and receiving the same amount of the same food never defecates more than once per day! When you have two dogs you dont really notice the differences, but when one dies and you then only have one it suddenly hits you that the four heaps you were picking up was not two each as you thought, but three from one and only one from the other!

But then again, when Amy was 10 Chloe was only a baby. So naturally as she was growing up the amount she was producing increased, so during this time the amount of poo would have varied, gradually increasing. So it's difficult to tell if Amy was actually producing more as she got old??? It's possible that her digestive system was not so efficient as she grew old but it was masked by Chloe growing into an adult.
 

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Tarimoor thanks for the recommendation. I'm trying to find a Simpsons stockist near me, which is no mean feat.

John, sorry to hear about Amy. But what a ripe old age! I had a Jack Russell live to 19, but sadly the last few years were in poor health and she went a bit senile in the end.

Why hasn't someone invented a flushing dog toilet?
 
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